Teacher cleared of sex with pupil

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The Independent Online

A trainee teacher said she was "ecstatic" today after being cleared of having sex with one of her pupils.

Hannah McIntyre, 25, was accused of seducing the 16-year-old boy after plying him with cider.

But a jury took just 75 minutes to dismiss the youth's claims and find her not guilty.

McIntyre smiled broadly as the verdict was given following a four-day trial at Liverpool Crown Court.

Judge Robert Warnock immediately told her she was free to leave the dock and she ran into the arms of her boyfriend and parents Irene and Harry, who had all supported her throughout the trial.

Miss McIntyre described herself as ecstatic and added that she needed a large drink and "to sleep for a week".

Asked if she was angry about the false allegations, she added: "Anger is not first among my thoughts right now.

"But he has, with no accountability, made an accusation and I would like to see him have to realise the effect he has had on me."

Miss McIntyre had worked at the £8,000-a-year Merchant Taylors' Boys' School in Crosby, Merseyside, one of the best performing independent schools in the country.

She said her teaching career, a path inspired by her English teacher mother, was now in tatters but declined to say what her future plans were.

Miss McIntyre, described in court as a "shy" student teacher and an "easy target" for disruptive children, added: "Merchant Taylors' has been incredibly supportive.

"It is an exceptionally good school and I thank the witnesses from the school who spoke on my behalf."

Her mother said it had been an "unbelievably" difficult time for the whole family.

She said such allegations had always presented a hazard for those in the teaching profession.

Mrs McIntyre said: "It has always been there but I think it has become more of an obvious hazard."

Within weeks of starting at the school, where Miss McIntyre taught A-level Latin and Ancient Greek, she found herself unable to control some of the students in her classes.

The court was told a significant minority of the 16 and 17-year-old boys would mock her 5ft height and Scottish accent, giving her the nickname the "Jock Dwarf".

Four months after she started working there, the boy and two school friends called round to her home.

By that stage they had a history of taunting the teacher. Incidents told to the jury included one of them locking her in a cupboard and hiding her mobile phone on a high shelf where the teacher could not reach it.

That night, in January 2008, the boys thought it would be "a laugh" to visit her because they were bored and had nothing else to do.

After knocking at Miss McIntyre's door, they "barged" past the teacher, who was dressed in only her pyjamas, and riffled through her flat poking fun at her possessions and mishandling a pet lizard after removing it from its cage.

Miss McIntyre, of Winstanley Road, Waterloo, Merseyside, told the jury she immediately felt "overwhelmed" and "intimidated".

But she said she felt she could manage the situation and felt that if she called for the police the boys would get in trouble with the school and make life in her classroom even more difficult than it already was.

"I had wanted to be a decent teacher who wasn't heavy handed but I think, to them, I became a joke teacher," she told the jury.

"They thought they could get away with anything and not get into trouble."